Lee County commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement with the City of Fort Myers for a cooperative project to improve the quality of water discharged to the Caloosahatchee River from a canal in the city limits.
The project is for the improvements, operation and maintenance of a portion of the L-3 Canal, located just south of Boy Scout Drive between Cleveland Avenue and Summerlin Road. The goal of the project is to improve water quality flowing from developed areas into the Caloosahatchee River, which has a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for total nitrogen and is currently subject to a State of Florida Basin Management Action Plan.
Tuesday’s action was the second step this month moving forward with this project. On Feb. 2, commissioners approved a contract with TSI Disaster Recovery for the construction of the project, which includes clearing, grubbing, excavation, filling, modification of existing drainage structures, and the installation of a weir, concrete sump, control structures and stormwater piping for the project.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection awarded a $400,000 grant for the project. The grant is expected to pay 100% of the design and construction costs. The project is budgeted in the current fiscal year.
The agreement with the City of Fort Myers specifies that the county will construct the improvements and be responsible for them for a period of five years. At the end of that time, the responsibility for maintenance of the canal will revert to the city. The agreement also establishes criteria for sharing TMDL water-quality credits on behalf of the county and the city.
Also on Tuesday, Lee County launched a website, “Our Water Story: Lee County’s Water Quality Initiative.”
The website, www.leegov.com/water, invites Lee County residents to learn our water story, how we got to where we are, what we are doing to fix it, and how they can help shape the future of our waterways.
The site features a story map to take visitors on a tour of the watershed, discussing the challenges and causes, as well as the steps Lee County and partner agencies have taken to help improve local water quality.
The initiative will include social media and traditional media campaigns highlighting completed, in-progress and new projects.